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RELS 390, Week #1 Notes

by: Tiffani Chole

RELS 390, Week #1 Notes REL-S 390

Tiffani Chole
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About this Document

notes from the lecture for week one
Religion and American Institutions
Dr. Feres
Class Notes




Popular in Religion and American Institutions

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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Tiffani Chole on Thursday September 1, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to REL-S 390 at San Diego State University taught by Dr. Feres in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 3 views. For similar materials see Religion and American Institutions in Religions at San Diego State University.


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Date Created: 09/01/16
RELS 390 – Week #1 Notes Religion – What is it? How to study it … - What o An explanation of the ultimate meaning of life and how to live according based on a nation and experience of the transcendent  Professor Swidler, Temple University - Mircea Eliade o “The sacred always manifests itself as a reality of a wholly different order from ‘natural’ realities … the first possible definition of the sacred is that it is the opposite of the profane” o SACRED  Set apart for worship of a deity or s worthy of worship o PROFANE  Nonreligious; outside the sphere of religion - The Four Cs o CREED  The cognitive aspect of religion  Everything that goes into the “explanation” of the ultimate meaning of life o CODE OF BEHAVIOR  Ethics  Includes the rules and customs of action that somehow follow from one aspect or another of the Creed o CULT  All the ritual activities that relate the follower to one aspect or another of the Transcendent, either directly or indirectly  Prayer being an example of the former and certain formal behavior toward representatives of the Transcendent, such as priests, of the latter. o COMMUNITY STRUCTURE  The relationships among the followers  Can vary widely, from a very egalitarian relationship, as among Quakers, through a "republican" structure as Presbyterians, to a monarchical one, as with some Hasidic Jews have with the Rebbe  - Ninian Smart o Seven dimensions of religion  Practical and ritual dimension  Formal or informal  Temporal or spatial  Experiential and emotional dimension  Rudolf Otto o Mysterium tremendum fascinans o A mysterious something that draws you in and inspires both awe and fear o Mysticism key here RELS 390 – Week #1 Notes  Intuitive  Beyond Reason  Narrative and mythic dimension  MYTH o A vehicle that relates a through defying normal expression and sets pattern for human behaviors  Scriptural or canonical (kanon is Greek for measuring rod)  ETIOLOGY o Explains why things are the way they are  COSMOGONY o Accounts of creation of the world  ESCHATAOLOGY o Accounts/beliefs about the end of the world  Doctrinal and philosophical dimension  The principles of a tradition  Typically explain complex ideas  May or may not be familiar to average believer but is part of the scholarly tradition  Ethical and legal dimension  The things required of a believer  Social and institutional  Material (Ninian Smart)  Cult  Artifacts o Buildings, art music, symbols, natural world o Not a definition, but identifying features that help us understand the way academic think about the topic - What is religion: Leonard Swidler o Religion is an explanation of the ultimate meaning of life, and how to live accordingly; based on a notion of the Transcendent o What is transcendent?  “that which goes beyond the everyday, ordinary and the service experience of reality  it can mean spirits, gods, a (Im)Personal God, emptiness - Why do religions exist? o Religions help us deal with a variety of human needs o EXAMPLES  Give us a way to think about our own mortality  Help us to find security in an insecure world  Organize us socially  Assist the poorest and the weakest with survival  Stimulate artistic production - Sigmund Freud o 1856 – 1939 RELS 390 – Week #1 Notes o Religion is about projecting our childhood experiences with our parents onto a God or gods - Carl Jung o 1875 – 1961 o Individuation or personal fulfillment o Symbols particularly important - Christianity in the United States o What is it? Types? o Trinitarian v. Non o Predestined v. Inclusive o Transubstantiation v. Symbol o Saints v. saints - Secularization o Decline or change in religious beliefs  We live in a n “invisibly” religious society  “Nones” believe but … - Why study religions … o Insight into other cultures and into the lives of other people  Religion is a key to the way many people live  Understanding religious practice helps us to better understand others’ lives and hopefully, to be tolerant of people not like us o Improve your appreciation of new places because you can understand what you see and hear and experience more fully o To assist in your own religious quest. Summed up simply: we can learn from others who do not practice as we do o To appreciate every day life more fully  You cannot see a movie, read a book, hear a song, listen to a Presidential debate without some mention of religion it seems  Knowing more is a positive o To make you a better citizen of the world - How: Method o Phenomenological  Empathy, no value-judgment, observational, experiential o Historically  Context o Anthropologically  What they do, how it functions o Theology v. Religious Studies


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